5 Tips For Your First Year in a Long Distance Relationship

5 Tips For Your First Year in a Long Distance Relationship

Being apart from your sweetheart can be lonely and frustrating. Whether it's for a few days, a week, a month, or a long distance relationship - any time is too long! I know how it feels to be separated from your spouse and I want to help all of our long distance couples stay strong, happy, and healthy. If you’re considering entering a long distance relationship, or find yourself in one, here are 5 tips for getting through the first year.

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Valentine's Day Date Ideas

Hello Lovely,

Valentine’s Day is totally overrated, but there are still some hopeless romantics out there looking to keep the spark alive. At this point, I’m sure everyone is tired of the traditional dinner and movie date, and let’s face it, taking your girl to a club is just no longer cool. Step your game up! So I’ve rounded up 5 really fun and creative date ideas for anyone looking to shower their loved one with affection on this special day!

ROMANTIC CUDDLE KIT FOR TWO

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A romantic Cuddle Kit is an amazing gift for your anniversary, your spouse’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, OR just because! It would also make a cute wedding or bridal shower gift, or a quick-pick-me-up for a cold weather day. It can be thrown together in a jiffy, and who wouldn’t LOVE a night of cuddlin’, snugglin’, and lovin’ in a basket? It’s quick, easy, AND romantic, plus, it comes with a darling, free printable gift tags and “Snuggle Up” banner to help you have the most romantic cuddle around. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Here are some suggestions of what you might put inside…

  • A soft, fuzzy blanket

  • Some Bubbly

  • Chocolate Truffles

  • A lovey, dovey movie

  • Some Candles

  • Some Romantic Music

  • Socks

  • Hershey Kisses

  • Cocoa

The opportunities are literally endless! Just include whatever you think is comfy, cozy, and super cuddly.

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Romantic Rooftop Date

Meeting and falling in love is such a thrilling, exciting time! Enter the romantic rooftop date-perfect for a picnic!!  And why stop at a picnic blanket when you could have a table and chairs?! Don’t have a flat roof?  Are you living in an apartment without roof access?  Well, don’t let that stop you!  Ask to borrow a friend’s roof for the night.   (I’m pretty sure it’s empty and available.)  Or look for a place in town with access to a great view.

Even if you are solo, all of these activities are fun things to do with your friends and family during the cooler fall and winter months. Give them a try and report back!

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Sign Up for a Cooking Class

When cooking isn't your strong suit (and restaurant reservations are booked to the max), sign up for a last minute cooking class where you can learn to make each other's favourite meals. Things always tend to heat up in the kitchen.

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A Wine Bar Crawl

Instead of sticking to just one spot, hop from place-to-place and order different kinds of wine and tapas along the way. It's waaay more interesting than a boring ol' sit-down dinner. Of course, it doesn't hurt stashing one away for later too.

A Scavenger Hunt

This Valentine’s Day, add a little family fun with this Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt that everyone can enjoy! You can make up your own, complete with creative challenges, photo missions, and sexy prizes. I’ve even got two ideas for you. The first is specific to Valentine’s Day and only requires your significant other. Not only is this scavenger hunt easy to set up with a cute bag label you can print directly onto the bag, its full of fun activities that will create a memorable Valentine’s Day adventure. Follow all of the scavenger hunt clues to reveal hours of Valentine’s Day fun!

The second option is something I did four years ago for a significant other’s birthday. Just invite your most adventurous friends, print off the clues and let the race begin!

Do you have another fun Valentin’es Day date idea? Sound off below!

The Smart New Guide To Online Dating

Hello Lovely,

January is usually known for a hug surge in two places: the gym and online dating. But why? During this time most people write out plans for the year that normally include creating a regimen to reach a specific fitness goal. Also, during this time you're usually guaranteed a discounted price, the sign-up fee waived, or a few free gym accessories as a sign-on perk. According to Match.com, online dating sites are at their busiest between Dec. 26 and Feb. 14. Match reports 50 million messages sent and 1 million dates occurring during this time, which is referred to as peak dating season. It’s probably because the weather makes us crave a cuddle buddy, but there’s nothing like the holidays to make us feel lonely. So what do we do? The millennial approach to dating is definitely online dating; bars are intimidating and no one has time to wait three days to two weeks for processing time to get a call/text back.

It seems like every day we’re hearing about a new dating app. From Bumble to Coffee Meets Bagel and from Hinge to Happn, there are a lot of options out there and it can be a little overwhelming! Don’t worry, as an online dating veteran, I’ve got some expert tips for you so can avoid making some of the same mistakes I did and meet your forever person!

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  1. Choose the right app

Once you know exactly what you want, you have to choose the right dating platform. There are 10 major sites and apps to choose from, so let’s quickly break them down. Tinder might be the best known of all the dating apps out there, but just remember it does have a reputation for being a hookup site, so if you’re looking for a serious connection, this may not be it. I’ve never heard of Hinge before but it’s an interesting concept: Hinge uses mutual Facebook friends to curate matches. The app also uses a scrolling feature, which allows you to interact with multiple parts of a profile, rather than swiping left and right, so no more missed connections! The League is super exclusive and ever I couldn’t get in. After you submit your LinkedIn profile, the apps takes about a week to approve you as a new member, giving you access to 1-6 carefully curated and verified matches a day (height included!) Be careful though, if you aren’t active, the app will kick you out.

Raya bills itself as an app for creative types, from DJs to restaurateurs to NBA players.  To apply, be ready to show a large Instagram following—the rest is up to a “secret committee.” For those looking for a more specific type of connection, JSwipe offers a range of options, from “orthodox” to “just Jewish.”  Bumble asks women to send the first text. Don’t worry if you accidentally swipe past your soul mate—the app offers three free “backtracks” every three hours. I tried coffee meets bagel and I honestly uninstalled it the same day so trust me, skip this one. you to match with people you’ve passed in real life. If they have an account, you can send a like…which they’ll only see if they like you back! Foolproof and a little stalkerish…

Then there’s my personal favourite: OkCupid. I met my ex on it, and since then I’ve had A LOT of interesting conversations. Some I’ve written off the person immediately because there’s no way they could’ve thought we were compatible. Like match.com, after answering a TON of question (and I do mean a TON - but seriously don’t skip them they’re important) you’ll know just how compatible you and a potential match would be based on the percentage of personality traits you share. The app just released an update that shows which specific interests you overlap on, so if certain qualities are more important to you than others, you’ll be able to sort through matches much more easily. OkCupid’s software is literally a free version of Match.com. Sure there are some limits that you’ll have to pay to unlock, but there’s still a lot you can do with it.

2. Perfect Your Profile

Trust me, people actually read your profile! This is where you tell someone why they should get to know you; why they should swipe right. You want to make sure that you get across what’s important to you, and show some personality, too. Include a joke or a cheeky pun, if that’s up your alley. I struck up a conversation with a guy who said he wants a girl who can cook him grits and that was one of the best things I could’ve done! (We still talk)! You also want to give the viewer something to start a conversation about, so make sure that your profile says something that they can engage with. The most important thing is to make it personal, so whatever you feel good about is the right way to go.

As important as what you write is the profile picture. When you pick a profile picture, PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE OTHER PEOPLE! I have looked at pictures and wondered which one is the guy, and the worst ones are them with other girls. Is it your sister? Best friend? Ex-girlfriend? Current girlfriend? Either way it tells me that you’re unavailable so I swipe left quickly.

3. Be Patient & Open Minded

It’s hard to really tell what someone is like based on a few photos. Get to know people, chat it up, and be open-minded. If you’re only into tall, dark and handsome but you end up having great conversation with a blondie who’s on the shorter side, give it a chance. Also, age is just a number (to an extent). We’re not telling you to run out and date someone 30 years older than you, but remember that older usually means wiser (and more dating and life experience), so don’t be afraid to date outside of your own age range.

Also you may be on a site or app for weeks or months without making a genuine connection. Don’t quit! OkCupid found new guys for me every day! A lot of them never messaged me back, but that could be for a number of reasons. Remember, some people may no longer use the site because they lost interest or met someone and just didn’t deactivate their account. So don’t take it personal if the responses are a little slow.

Above all else, remember to always be yourself. Don’t be someone you think will attract the “perfect person” and you can’t maintain the facade. Don’t be afraid to set your standards and don’t settle. Whether you’re looking to casually date or find your lifelong partner, remember to put your best foot forward.

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What are your favourite dating apps? Do you have any online dating tips that you didn’t see on this list?

Share your recommendations in the comments!

Montana and Jess' Stunning Nautical Wedding

Montana and Jess' Stunning Nautical Wedding

On December 30, 2017, my baby cousin Montana was wedded. The wedding took place in Freeport at the Grand Bahama Yacht Club. The dock provided the perfect backdrop for the ceremony. The nautical theme was consistent throughout the decor, down to the anchor that provided the perfect ampersand under the arch to symbolise the joining of two individuals.

The magnetising chemistry between the couple really showed throughout the ceremony. They seriously couldn’t be any cuter together. It was a photographer’s dream to work with such  individuals who were so passionate about one another that it also inspired me with my own emotional journey.

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How to Know When to Move On

How to Know When to Move On

Whatever the situation, we’ve all been faced with this decision...Maybe you’ve just fought with your significant other about the same shit for the thousandth time and you’re genuinely concerned that you may end up on a real-life Orange is the New Black. Whatever the situation, a decision needs to be made and it’s probably to move on, but how? Your metaphorical suitcase may already be packed. But where are you going? What’s your plan? Maybe you’re still deciding. Well then, this, is for you.

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Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

Hello Lovely,

We're so excited for Valentine's Day! And even if you don't have anyone to share the day with, that doesn't mean you shouldn't treat yourself! This recipes takes less than an hour from start to finish! If you love chocolate, you'll love this! I found them to be a little bitter, so you may want to add 1/2 cup of sugar to the 1 cup this recipe requires. This recipe was adapted from Best Recipes Ever!

Fat trimmer: This dark moist cake does not call for the 2 eggs and 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter of a typical quick cake. Simply using water and applesauce will save you so many calories without sacrificing flavour!

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups (325 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) buttermilk (I used Lactaid Fat Free Milk)
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
1/4 cup (60 mL) applesauce
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla

1 tbsp raspberry agave

Preparation

In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Press brown sugar through sieve; combine with dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, water, applesauce, raspberry agave and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Trust me, you won't even need a hand mixer. Scrape into greased 9-inch (2.5 L) square cake pan.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 35 minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool. Dust with icing sugar (if using). Cut into squares.

Servings: 12 or more (depending on how big or small you cut your pieces)